Huge Jelly Fish Stings 150 People

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Call it the jellyfish version of "Jaws." As many as 150 people were stung by a 40- to 50-pound jellyfish at a state park in southern New Hampshire this week.

And the jellyfish, identified as a lion's mane jellyfish, was not even alive.

Officials said the incident at Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye, started when a lifeguard spotted the jellyfish about 100 yards from shore and dragged it in with a pitchfork. The jellyfish broke up en route.

Then, people in the water started having painful reactions. Those stung by stingers on the huge dead creature included children, vacationers, and others attending recreation programs at the beach, reports New Hampshire's WMUR 9.

"My daughter was screaming," Shannon Kirshenbaum tells the TV station, of her two-year-old. "We were trying to figure out what was wrong with her, so we picked her up and started to get out of the water, and that's when they announced that they had caught a jellyfish that had split into pieces and that there might be tentacles in the water."

A triage was set up at the park's lifeguard station. Doctors used vinegar to treat most of the stings. Ten children were taken to area hospitals as a precaution, and later released, according to media reports. Symptoms included itching and burning.

Doug Grout, chief of marine fisheries for the state, said the jellyfish was a species rarely seen as far south as Rye, and that the creature's largest tentacle was 13 feet, according to The Associated Press.

"They can hurt," Grout says of the stings. "I wouldn't say they're deadly, but they provide discomfort."

The beach was closed for the rest of the day.

Photo, lawdawg1, flickr
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